Collaborative family lawyer in North York

What is collaborative family law?

Collaborative family law is an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR), also called family dispute resolution process, where you and your partner work together to resolve your legal issues out of court with the help of your own collaborative family lawyer

Is collaborative law binding?

Agreements reached in the collaborative process are legally binding and drafted by lawyer.

What is collaboration agreement?

A collaboration agreement is a legally binding agreement between different parties that want to co-operate together or work collaboratively on a commercial project. In most cases a collaboration agreement will record: What the collaboration is about. How the parties will work together.

What is the difference between collaborative law and mediation in Ontario?

Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process that starts off with each spouse and each collaborative professional signing a Participation Agreement. Mediation is a voluntary process unless it has been mandated by the court or a domestic agreement. Litigation is initiated voluntarily by one spouse.

What are the benefits of Collaborative law?

If you and your spouse get along amicably, we advise you to consider collaborative law.

The process of using Collaborative Law to resolve family disputes involves drafting and revising a Financial Statement, gathering all supporting documentation and meetings with all parties to try to resolve all outstanding issues. The goal is to finalize a Separation Agreement.

If the parties are unable to resolve their differences using the Collaborative process, the lawyer assisting the parties must resign. They cannot act for the parties during any subsequent legal proceedings. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interest to try to resolve their differences amicably.

The pace of collaborative practice 

Collaborative Practice can be more direct and efficient than a regular divorce court case. It focuses on problem solving rather than blame and grievances may create the opportunity to strive for respectful results. 

Participation agreement 

Before negotiation begins both parties need to sign Participation agreement.

Collaborative law guidelines

As a party in the Collaborative Family Law process, you commit to:

  • Respect and follow the principles and guidelines of the Collaborative Law
  • Clearly express your concerns, goals, objectives, needs and interests. 
  • Take responsibility for the outcome of the issues discussed in the
  • Treat all participants in the process with respect. 
  • Treat the process concerns and needs of the other party with respect. 
  • Commit to the fullest development of choices and alternatives. 
  • Do not diminish or belittle any person’s efforts to contribute to the development of choices and alternatives. 
  • Listen for the purpose of seeking to understand the other party and not necessarily to agree with that person’s perspective. 
  • Respect the beliefs and values of the other party, regardless if you
    disagree with them. 
  • Respect the other party’s concerns, goals, objectives, needs and
    interests as expressed in the collaborative process. 
  • Help to develop the information that is available in the process by
    providing full, honest disclosure. 
  • Not react to the other party’s interests and desired outcomes with
    criticism and judgment. 
  • Discuss interests, concerns and needs and not positions. 
  • Take responsibility for your own emotions and behaviour. 
  • Speak only for yourself by using “I” statements. 
  • Not use language about the other party that is critical, judgmental,
    accusatory, blame-oriented, sarcastic or inflammatory. 
  • Not make assumptions about the concerns, goals, objectives, needs and
    interests of the other party. 
  • Use effective communication skills modeled in the collaborative process. 
  • Let go of past frustrations in order to have a clear view of future
  • Actively listen to all people who participate in the collaborative process; listening is not thinking about the next thing you are going to say while someone else is speaking. 
  • Remember the goal of achieving mutually acceptable and beneficial outcomes for both parties. 
  • Work with the “team” in order to maximize settlement options and outcomes. 
  • Work toward achieving an enduring solution by ensuring that the solution is accepted and supported by both parties. 
  • Not take advantage of the mistakes of any person in the process. 
  • Not intentionally delay the process in order to obtain perceived benefits. 
  • Express your concerns and needs about the process where the collaborative process is not meeting those concerns or needs. 
  • Commit to meet all time frames agreed to within the process. 
  • Be responsible to ensure open, ongoing communication with your lawyer. 
  • Not threaten or be aggressive toward the other party in any manner whatsoever. 
  • Not threaten the use of a litigation process. 
  • Seek to understand your legal position on all issues by seeking information and communicating with your lawyer. 
  • Understand that conflict can be resolved cooperatively without any person in the conflict having to give up their concerns, goals, objectives, needs and interests. 
  • Not seek to make the other party “wrong” on an issue in order to be “right”. 
  • Be open to hearing concerns, goals, objectives, needs and interests of the other party which you may not have been aware of or heard before. 
  • Recognize the futility of arguing. 
  • Remember you have the right to say “No” to anything that is not acceptable to you. 
  • Respect that the other party has the right to say “No” to anything that is not acceptable to him or her. 
  • Measure the value of anything that you do or say within the process by asking whether it is effective in advancing you to your desired goals or outcomes. 
  • Be aware of how a comment or behaviour may result in a negative response in the other party, which will reduce the effectiveness of your communication. 
  • Remember that there is little that the lawyer in the collaborative process can contribute to old differences that you will never agree upon. 
  • Remember that your concerns, goals, objectives, needs and interests are not more valid if you spend time comparing them to the other party’s. 
  • Remember inadequate information and ineffective communication prevent agreement: 
    • Information requires the gathering of facts; 
    • Facts require evaluation and analysis; 
    • Evaluation and analysis reveal options; 
    • Options allow the development of solutions; 
    • Multiple solutions require negotiations; 
    • Negotiations require effective communication; 
    • Effective communication creates agreement; and, 
    • Agreement resolves conflict. 
  • Believe that you have the power to obtain adequate information and have
    effective communication.
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